Predator

Every year one of the great PREDATORS of our planet makes an appearance here. Forget your Great White Shark and your ‘don’t go into the water’ scream. Here it’s don’t go on the grass and whatever you do, Don’t Stand on one of these monsters.

Great White Sharks hunt alone, these beasts hunt in packs.

It’s not ‘You’re going to need a bigger boat’, its ‘You’re going to need a thicker shoe’.

It’s definitely an angry food….

So another morning of missing lessons and unsettling topics. Finally enough’s enough. That’s more than enough school angst for one week. For both of us. Hawklad was ordered to play on his new FIFA game (surprisingly he accepted that order without much protest). I went outside to change both blown car headlights. I know which task I would prefer to be doing…..

In the old days changing a bulb was an easy job. Open the bonnet, remove the old bulb, put in the new one. No tools required. Bask in the glory of being an official car mechanic. No need for that Mark 1 Escort Haynes Car Manual. People used to give them as Christmas Presents…..those were the days.

All those years later, all those years of technological progress and I find myself outside in the freezing Yorkshire rain. Briefed on the trials ahead via a helpful 10 minute YouTube video. A smorgasbord array of required tools crammed into my pockets. Years of progress mean that to change a car headlight bulb I now need to

– open bonnet

– unscrew and remove the front grill,

– remove the wheel arches

– remove the front bumper

– unclip the headlight unit

– remove the headlight unit

– unclip the broken bulb using a technique very similar to the sixth move of doom

– put on gloves as touching the new bulb will apparently cause a thermal nuclear explosion

– then reassemble the car…..

Unbelievably after two hours the process was completed. Ok the car might be out of diesel, it may well fall to bits the next time it’s reaches 30mph but at least the headlights are working.

Now to venture onto the lawn to pick up next doors dog’s poop. Yes I will be entering the land of the predator. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Fashion

It was time to go through the wardrobe. Summer out, Winter in. These days Autumn and Spring just count as an unwanted extension to Winter. In come the jumpers, out goes the T-shirts.

With Hawklad it’s straight forward, all his summer clothes can go to the charity shop. They won’t fit him next year. Then to the shop and buy this years winter clothes as last years don’t fit him…… Expensive but straightforward. He is taller than me so I suppose I could have his cast offs as ‘hand me downs’ but

….. I’m not cool enough to wear his clothes.

….. He’s long and thin, I’m NOT….. Imagine The Hulk busting out of his stuff.

My wardrobe is not so straightforward. I wear last years clothes (and the year before that , and the year before that). The record is a purple climbing waterproof jacket which is over 30 years old…. The complications are fourfold with this approach.

One….. having to find somewhere to put the summer stuff so it doesn’t become cat bedding.

Two…. does it still fit. Reassuringly it did. Hang on, is that a good thing. Does that not just confirm that I’m the same wrong shape I was last year. That’s out of shape……😂😂😂😂😂

Three….. has it become that worn with age that unfortunate passerby’s can see through my clothes. I wouldn’t wish that horror on anyone, even Bono.

Four….. stress testing. Can the year older clothes still withstand the immense pressures my body puts stitches under these days. I would hate to be the cause of an international incident.

You notice fashion is not a factor. When you look like me then you can safely wait for my clothes to come back into fashion one year. I still have hopes for my pink leg warmers…….

Alarm call

Oh how I missed the delights of setting the alarm clock to go off one hour earlier. All to fit in with the demands of the school week. I’m not sure I had an hour of sleep I could really afford to drop in the first place. It doesn’t sound much but dropping from somewhere over 3 hours to just over 2 hours sleep a night definitely brings on that semi permanent morning dull head feeling. The return of the ZOMBIE. I hear you cry – GO TO BED EARLIER …..But the thing is that it’s not as simple as just going to bed earlier, my sleep refuses to arrive much before 4am regardless of what time I get under the blankets.

That serious dull head feeling is made worse by one thing in particular. When there is no school, that extra hour provides a safe place to slowly wake. Waking on my own terms. Unfortunately the school alarm is too early for that and everyday I need the artificial alarm. That sudden jolt to just messes me up. At this rate I’m going to seriously harm my George Clooney looks 😂😂😂😂😂😂🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪 Especially if I keep zombie walking face first into stone walls.

But it’s reassuring to see so many others who are clearly suffering from zombie dull head syndrome. As I went to pay for petrol this morning, I walked past the ‘please wear a mask in the shop’ sign in the safe knowledge that my mask was on my face (albeit inside out). Strangely the other 20 odd people in the shop had not realised they had not put there masks on. How very tired they must be….

And it’s not just the great unwashed like myself who suffer from lack of sleep induced forgetfulness. It also happens to so called world leaders as well…. When your tired you clearly forget things like masks even when everyone else has taken the trouble to put one on. Or maybe in this particular case, Johnson is just an arrogant Bell-End……

If anyone knows the photo source, can you let me know

Amazon

Not The Amazon just a sunny Yorkshire evening. A chilly evening. Autumn is definitely here.

Amazon. Oh what a fun shopping experience. Ok the buying bit isn’t that bad now. Usually they have what I need and it arrives in one piece. All except vinyl that seems to have been sat on by an elephant. Occasionally you get the delights of tracking a next day delivery as it slowly wander in and out of the country. On its very own magical mystery tour. Sometimes the wrong item arrives. Sometimes it’s delivered but not here…… But it’s generally ok.

Returns are another matter. Talk about pulling what’s left of my hair out. So last night with some trepidation I tried the Amazon Paperless Return process. An email was sent with a random ink stain image which was apparently all I needed. So with that image on my phone, the elephant warped LP in hand I headed to the nearest drop off location. A petrol station 5 miles away. A really really helpful young till assistant decided I had the face of someone who can’t even work a toaster never mind an online system. I should have whispered that I have a degree in computing….. Never really got the chance as she quickly took over with a smile. She was probably bored out of her mind and this at least broke the monotony of the evening shift. Ominously she warned that the easy and seamless return system was a ‘pigging nightmare’. The all knowing ink stain image was scanned after about 10 minutes of increasingly comical arm movements. Then the paperless system needed to print off a paper label……. It jammed. Then jammed again. Kept jamming and eating labels. An increasing pile of useless labels took over the floor. 30 minutes later we abandoned as we had used up the last label. The next batch of labels wouldn’t apparently arrive until next Thursday.

So today I will return to the petrol station with a label which I have printed out and will have another go at using this paperless Amazon system…..

That’s progress for you.

Warning

No contact from school again about Hawklad. Now one day from what is supposed to be his return. No plans in place. No discussions. Not impressed. Very unsettling. Change subject before rant starts.

There aren’t many things more unsettling to me than when I’m are happily driving along a road and an approaching car flashes their headlights at me. Or someone puts there hazard warning lights on randomly as you drive past them. Especially when you can’t figure out why. I’m I even the target of that, is it aimed at someone else, was it mistaken identity, was it an accident. What’s wrong. Is my petrol cap open. Is a police speed camera just round the corner. Is there a giant dinosaur waiting to pounce behind those approaching traffic lights.

The uncertainty just unsettles me.

Well I have the solution. It’s my one big invention. My route to fame and fortune.

All cars should be installed with a special keyboard on the steering wheel. The keyboard will have large keys you can press in those light flashing moments. Rather than just randomly sending out a vague message to the approaching car, a giant lcd screen on the front of the car (so large that it partly obstructs the windscreen) will display a detailed warning message. These can be preprogrammed. No confusing henceforth. For example my available warning light options would be

* Children next to road…..

* Animals on the road…..

* The road surface is dangerous…..

* Warning, The Cops……

* Hi Sister, have you been shopping…..

* Your driving like a moron…..

* Your car is falling to bits……

* Get your Mobile out, Pokemon nearby ready to be caught……

* Put your Mobile down you numpty…….

* Turn your Full Beam headlights off you selfish lemon……

* It would be so nice if you wouldn’t mind getting back on your side of the road…..

* Ha Ha Your missing a once in a lifetime sunset behind you….

* Turn your music down your not at a Metallica Concert……

* Stop looking at that bird in the sky, YOUR supposed to be driving……

* UFO sighted, danger of alien abductions……..

Well I think it’s a great idea. That’s distracted me. Sometimes even parents need a distraction….

Anyone for croquet

Hawklad was feeling anxious. Really anxious. This time next week will be tough for him. It will be a tough call. Classroom or Home….

Sometimes it can feel very isolating just the two of us kinda cut off from the real world. Maybe there is a danger we take root.

So he needed a distraction. Something different. It was time to go hunting in the garage. What can I find. Imagine a place like the shop that Harry Potter got his wand from. Dark, cramped, filled to the brim with things that haven’t seen the light of day in years. Maybe decades. Some objects beyond rational comprehension.

As I rummaged deeper into the recesses my plight became more perilous. I stretched, bent and shakily balanced over box after box. Deeper I went into the precarious jungle of old toys and objects. Then I saw a very large old wooden box. It might as well have been an old precious wand. That will do nicely.

An old garden croquet set that came from his grannies house several years ago.

Yes it was fun. Definitely different. Some of the rules might have been loosely applied or invented. When did croquet become a contact sport. The long grass didn’t help. But the main thing is Hawklad was distracted.

Now was the time to get serious about this martial art called croquet. I got the lawnmower out and carefully cut out a croquet course. Incorporating obstacles. A Mole Hill. An Apple Tree. The Football Goal. Yorkshire Wet Grass.

Captain Chaos was a moving obstacle and introduced his own version of mayhem. Suddenly we have one of Europe’s Finest and Most Challenging Croquet Experiences.

Captain Chaos might be on to something. Croquet with a sock…..Yes Croquet is fun. And fun is needed some days…..

Stars

It’s been a few weeks since the Great Bloggers Bake off happened. It was wonderful and so much fun. Along with all the great baking bloggers, two people need a real shout out for all the work they put into this. Mel (CrushedCaramel) for putting this all together and Jeanne (A Jeanne in the Kitchen) for judging the entries.

You can check out all the fabulous entries on Mel’s site. So many fabulous entries and a few other rogue ones……

Sometimes going rogue works….

The Bake-Offs awesome judge Jeanne has awarded me an effort star. That feels like a Michelin Star to a baker like me. I am on the United Nations Baking Crimes list. So a star is a huge win for me even though it might technically not have been awarded on baking talent in my case. 😂😂😂😂😂 You can check out all the true baking stars here.

The next star I need is in POETRY. Again I am on the International Poetry Crimes list. I am Bad at poems, real BARD. I have been asked by the authorities to Cease and Desist on rhyming. Who am I to argue. I have tried to stop but as a one off, Mel asked if I would write a poem with her for the Bake-Off.

So can you spot the lines that someone with talent wrote (Mel) and the ones that a truly appalling poet like I did’eth pen.

No Carrots hurt during baking

We would love you to still take part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off Festival of Love. Please send your baking photos and baking ideas into:

CRUSHEDCARAMEL@GMAIL.COM

Already Mel has received so many fantastic submissions and the occasional disaster 😂😂😂😂.

Ok time for Sunday Blogger Bake Off Entry . A heart shaped Carrot Cake. First problem… No carrots…. I foolishly used them all up while making Sunday Lunch. The garden ones are out of bounds as Captain Chaos has been wee’ing on them. I’m not driving today so just have to make do again. But no viable alternatives. No pumpkin, no zucchini, no pineapple, no coconut. Then the madness set in. Carrot is ORANGE. Cheese is also Orange and can be shredded. Lactose free cheese was added…..

So now it’s a heart shaped cheese cake.

Then the shaping issues. The carefully moulded HEART shaped cake fell to bits.

So I give you a bit of a disaster cake. Presentation needs a bit of refinement. The actual cheese tasting cheese cake is interesting. Think sweet spice. Think cheddar cheese. It kinda works. But do I serve it with custard or with butter.

Ice Cream

It’s time to dream. Dream big.

As I dream then what better time can there be to try to make some homemade ICE CREAM. So after a hunt I located one of those random impulse purchases that never made it out of the box. An Ice Cream Maker. Then the panic. How on earth am I going to fit that big bowl which needs freezing for 8 hours into a rammed freezer. I can’t remember that bit on the glossy advert. It just said make delicious ice cream easily at home….. So an hour later the freezer is bursting at the seems. The lid is weighted partly down with my heaviest kettlebell.

Wait patiently for 6 hours….. I’m sure two hours won’t make that much difference.

So in went the dairy and gluten free ingredients. Lots of tinned coconut milk, vanilla, decaf coffee and maple syrup. That kinda thing. Plus cookie dough….. why does my attempt at cookie dough look like rabbit droppings 😳😳😳😳😳

Then the press the machine button and it stirs…..why didn’t I just use my food mixer and save the money.

The end result…..

Not sure the famous ice cream brand will be too happy being associated with my attempt. But it is recycling….

Whisper it. It was nice……. WOW.

We would love you to take part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off Festival of Love. Please send your baking photos and baking ideas into:

CRUSHEDCARAMEL@GMAIL.COM

Already Mel is receiving so many fantastic submissions and the occasional disaster 😂😂😂😂.

Bananas

It’s almost upon us. Time to show that baking love.

But first. Time to dive into those panic rooms. I’m baking. I’m baking something new. Banana Bread. How difficult can this be. Even for me. So I carefully measured out the gluten and dairy free ingredients. I had everything accept Bananas. Unbelievable.

So a rapid tour of the local stores yielded NOT ONE single yellow fruit. Have bananas been banned from Yorkshire. How can bananas be so difficult to get round here. But undaunted, I wasn’t going to let the lack of bananas spoil my banana bread. Didn’t some big bloke once say ‘I am inevitable’. 😂😂😂😂😂

The only alternative to the funny shaped yellow fruit I could find were a few mini satchels of a banana recovery protein gel. The stuff long distance cyclists use. Needs must. The evil smelling gel was squeezed into the dough. The gel was also out of date……

The end result was…..

And the smell. Not so much bananas. More I guess akin to something being stuck in a cyclists lycra for several months. The taste – challenging…..

Which self respecting cyclist will reach for a plastic covered recovery gel when they can have recovery cake like this….

We would love you to take part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off Festival of Love. Please send your baking photos and baking ideas into:

CRUSHEDCARAMEL@GMAIL.COM

Already Mel is receiving so many fantastic submissions and the occasional disaster 😂😂😂😂.